Everyone’s heard the jokes about the gym bros who clearly skip leg day. You know the ones, no neck, huge chest but what looks like two matchsticks propping them up? Big upper bodies are in, but there’s actually more to skipping leg day than just aesthetics.
When we talk about Leg Day we are usually referring to the muscles groups in the lower section of the body; this includes your gluteal muscles. These muscles are some of the most crucial muscles responsible for your posture. in today’s culture, these muscles are often weakened through prolonged periods of sitting. This can cause your pelvis to tilt and can result in bad posture, leading to a huge array of problems including back pain and ineffective breathing.
Complaints of knee pain are not uncommon these days. And whilst in some instances there are medical reasons for this joint pain, more often than not, the pain can be resolved through strengthening of the right muscles. By strengthening your quads (front thigh) and hamstrings (back thigh) you take pressure off of the joint when flexing the knee. So if you really don’t have a medical reason behind the knee pain, leg day could actually save you a whole lot of pain!
Little side note, I can vouch that this point actually works. Prior to starting lifting I used to suffer with severe knee pain. Running or walking for longer periods of time often used to leave them aching for days and any impact work used to cause me agony. I now regularly squat and deadlift (my two favourite lifts for these muscles groups) and my knees have never felt so good!
Ok so without getting too technical on this point - bigger muscles burn more calories, meaning that the more lean muscle mass you have, the more calories you burn just by exists. Your upper leg and gluteal muscles are the largest muscle groups within your body, so if you can grow these, you are also significantly increasing the number of calories you burn on a day to day basis. This is great for burning fat!
So now who’s going to skip leg day?
I’m not expecting everyone to flock to the gym and grow their legs to the size of a bodybuilder (but if you want to go for it!). All I’m suggesting, is that leg day is much more important than just aesthetics. It has some great benefits for your overall health and can also help you achieve your fat loss goals faster.
Remember that leg day also needs to be about the mobility and flexibility of the region as well as growing the muscle if you really want to reap the benefits, particularly the postural ones.